Original HULK LOU FERRIGNO has mixed emotions about playing the mean green monster on TV in the 1970s - because the role almost ruined his life.

The action man, now a 51-year-old fitness trainer, won the chance to play TV's most famous monster after wowing producers with his physique in the PUMPING IRON bodybuilding film.

But the role - now taken by Eric Bana in the new blockbuster movie - was so demanding he struggled to keep his body in tip-top form, and even tried steroids to stay in shape.

He says, "You've got to remember that was 30 years ago. I tried steroids once when a doctor prescribed it and I didn't like it.

"Filming THE Incredible Hulk was the hardest thing for me because I was in the make-up all day and I had to come home and work out in the evening no matter how tired I was.

"I was able to get two workouts a week and two more at the weekends. That was it. Everyday on the set I had to have my shirt off.

"I spent two hours in the make-up chair getting all green and I wasn't going to go the gym and then spend another two hours having the make-up re-applied."

Ferrigno admits he got so sick of being recognised as The Hulk after he finished shooting the TV series, he even tried to lose his bulk and capture other roles.

That didn't stop the big guy accepting a cameo role in Ang Lee's new film adaptation of The Hulk - as a bodyguard.

20/06/2003 09:23